Pre-workout stretching

We always get told to warm up, so what should we be trying to achieve?

Warming our body up, ready for the workload we intend to undertake, using a controlled increase of reach/speed of movement in the required body parts.

Let’s break this down a little bit:

  • Workload we intend to undertake – The planned exercises.
  • Controlled increase in reach/speed – moving in a controlled fashion, building up the distances and speed they are moving in
  • Required body parts – those muscles and joints which are linked to the workload

Put simply, move the muscles you are going to use.

We do, however, need to consider the types of movements, and how we increase the range of these during the warm-up.

Warm-up stretching or Dynamic stretching is very much inside of our range of movement, in that we are not trying to force ourselves beyond our range of motion. Working or forcing ourselves past this would be ballistic stretching.

Typically, dynamic movements are performed in the range of 8-12 repetitions, ideally working to our full range of movement, once achieved or as the muscles start to feel, tired move onto the next body part.

We are looking to prepare the muscles for the incoming workload, we want them to have moved similarly to that of the workload. If we were training our legs we would want to ensure our legs are ready to go, this may also include flexing of the hips, knees and ankles to support the muscles required for the workload.

For example swinging your leg forwards and backwards gradually increasing the range of motion, would help prepare the hips and glutes, we could also do some air squats to bring in the quads/hamstrings and flexing of the knee and ankle.

The key here is that we are controlling the increase in a smooth and consistent way – no erratic/jerky movements.

Dynamic stretching is an odd one out stretching mechanism, in that once we have reached our full range of movement, we don’t seek to repeat it continually in that set or workout as this can lead to solidifying the muscle memory through repetition.

Instead, we want to achieve full range of movement, then move on, this allows us to work to full range again in our next warm up hopefully with a slightly increased range.

Some examples:

  • Forward leg raises, allowing the leg to forward and backwards gradually working towards full range
  • Side leg raises, again allowing the leg to move fully to both sides
  • Stepping high knees
  • Arm swings in both the forward and side motions
  • Bodyweight squats and lunges

If you have any questions about pre-workout stretching speak to a member of Team SF email or call 07597215652